Stamping the authority of the state “in an afford to bring back respect” and “taking back so-called no-go-areas in a bid to make the country safer”, are some of the first things the newly appointed national police commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, intends to do.
Sitole said there were many ways in which crime was manifesting and its aim was to undermine policing, thereby “suggesting that the authority of the state is not taken seriously”.
“One tendency is the murder of police officers. The Police Safety Strategy will require immediate and drastic operationalising to ensure that our members are equal to the task while not suffering any negative consequences, because they [would be] properly trained and have the resources to effectively carry out their duties,” he said.
Sitole will take centre stage today as the minister of police, Fikile Mbalula, bestows the sword of command on him in a ceremony. Sitole was appointed by President Jacob Zuma last Wednesday. The new commissioner’s fourpart plan, part of his vision for the police, includes creating a crimefree country that is conducive to socio-economic stability.
He will pursue this aim on two frontiers which he describes as the “quick-win approach” and the “medium to long-term approach”. Sitole said he aimed to revive the Organised Crime Threat Assessment initiative (Octa) to stop crime syndicates in their tracks. “We will also be looking at de-resourcing the criminals.
“By this we mean that we will be taking young people out of reach of criminals, as it has been found that in 80% of criminal operations young people are used as runners, [and] in hijackings”.
“We will be formulising the Youth Crime Strategy which seeks to empower and support young people”, to enable them to become self-sufficient enough and “involved in crime-fighting initiatives”, Sitole said.
Sitole said police stations must become equipped with capacity and experience in order to face criminals at local level.